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Commercialization is a key part of Argonne’s mission, as it represents an effective way to translate intellectual property (IP) from the lab to the marketplace, where it can benefit U.S. residents, the U.S. economy, and the world.

Companies can acquire rights to Argonne inventions and copyrights via licensing agreements. Licenses may be nonexclusive or exclusive, depending on the nature of the intellectual property and the business fields to be actively pursued by the licensee.

Argonne not only licenses IP to third parties, it also works collaboratively with a range of organizations on science and technology projects. In these collaborations, the third party gains access to unique Argonne facilities, avoids the time/expense to re-create such facilities, and also gains access to Argonne’s expertise and background IP. Background IP can be licensed providing benefit to the third party and Argonne. 

The primary mechanisms by which third parties collaborate with Argonne are Strategic Partnerships Projects (SPPs) and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs).

Strategic Partnership Projects: An SPP (formerly known as a Work for Others agreement) is a subcontract for Argonne to perform tasks for others on a full-cost recovery basis. Proprietary treatment is possible, and data rights depend on specific circumstances.

  • The third party may be granted rights to inventions, copyrights, etc., depending on the nature of the third party, the source of funds, the type of technology, etc.
  • The third party has no rights to Argonne’s background IP, but Argonne may use background IP to accomplish tasks for the third party.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements: A CRADA is a cost-shared collaboration where funds or other resources are provided by both the third party and Argonne. A CRADA provide ownership of IP conceived or reduced to practice under the CRADA by each party (foreground IP). Background IP in existence prior to or produced outside of the CRADA is retained by the owner.